When all is quiet, I often like to go out on my terrace late at night and look out on the stark beauty of the Judean hills. The other night I sat on my terrace having a staring match with a blackbird that perched itself on top of the light sconce facing me. It didn’t move, didn’t flinch, didn’t ruffle a feather. It did, however, creep me out. I decided to quietly lift myself from my chair and make a hasty escape before this blackbird could take a nosedive and attack me head on.

I continued to stare at this bird through the window and flicked on and off the switch in an attempt to prod it to fly off. But, nothing. No reaction. It remained lifelessly stiff, yet stared right back at me as if to say, I got your number!
At one thirty in the morning I finally turned in hoping that I would wake up to find that the blackbird flew off to new and untried horizons.

I couldn’t help but think that this strange blackbird was some kind of omen. I mean, seriously, it couldn’t be more obvious. I breathed a bit more easily when, on the next morning, the blackbird was gone. Still, I hit the google search engine in an effort to find out if I should begin to worry and get all my papers in order.

My son, home from the army base for a few days, was quick to tell me that according to the Kabbalah, the sighting of a blackbird in such close proximity could only mean that I had two weeks to live, and being that I had two overseas flights in the next two weeks, it boded well for me to take stock of the situation. Great kid, that Rommi. He was kidding, of course – I think.

Nevertheless, I began to take stock of my life, judging the negative and trying to trudge up some positive deeds that would redeem me. It wasn’t looking too good.

To my surprise, I couldn’t find anything negative about the blackbird with respect to Jewish symbolism. Nothing is ever as it seems. Quite the contrary. For on further exploration, I found that the kabbalists – Jewish mystics, believed that birds were divine instruments by which God revealed His intentions and that the blackbird signified mythological birds in Jewish folklore.

As creatures of the sky where the great spirits reside, they have many things to teach about them. Blackbirds spend a lot of time on the ground foraging which makes the blackbird a great intermediary between the physical and the spiritual- a fusion of spiritual ideas while holding down a comfortable physical existence.

I learned that when flying, the blackbird moves in a straight line with purpose and determination. This flight is always low to try to remain undetected from predators. The blackbird will show you how to get to your destination using determination and also how to keep away from anyone who would do you harm. The blackbird teaches you how to acknowledge your power and use it to its fullest.

I began to think of what lay ahead of me. In the following week I am attending the Jewish book conference in New York where I am scheduled to give a two minute presentation to get vendors interested in my new novel, The Gilboa Iris. And as I understand it, they are a stickler about those two minutes and the competition is fierce. Following the JBC, I’m to go to the International Book Expo at the Javits Center and maybe rub shoulders with the right people. Is it possible that the blackbird was a positive sign, to infuse me with determination, to acknowledge my power and use it to the fullest?

I told Rommi about my findings, but he said “Nah, according to my calculations you have 13 days left.” One must have a sense of humor to survive in my household. I’m assuming that he was just trying to be witty in front of his new female friend. He won’t admit to me that she’s a girlfriend even though he’s been to see her every free moment he’s had off from the army for the past two weeks. Then again, nothing is ever as it seems, so for now, she is a friend who just happens to be female, and, who by the way, agrees with my positive take on the blackbird. Score one for the girl-friend! I mean, friend…who is female.

Getting back to the blackbird, another thing that she is noted for is its distinctive song which is loud and flute like. People with blackbird qualities will often love to sing or use their voice in other ways. This ability to use their voice will often be used for information purposes like public speaking or if they are in a spiritual profession they will often use their voice to heal.

Still, there are a myriad of beautiful birds on this earth, with colors as vibrant as the rainbow. It would stand to reason, that the blackbird signifies darkness and bodes ominous tidings. Though, as I noted earlier, and buttressed by personal experience, nothing is as it seems. Is it possible then that there is a purity in its blackness, having a beauty so great that all other colors dim in its presence? Is it possible that there is a positive magic in darkness, one that is promising, hopeful…an aura that dwells in the spiritual and transcends human comprehension?

Sounds good to me. Either that, or I better make good use of the next 13 days.